Hillary & Trump – Election 2016 – Is this the end?

hillary_clinton_vs-_donald_trump_-_caricatures

Many people who know me may tend to think I lean towards the “right”, but I do so much less than they have seen. My newer friends may see me leaning much more to the “left”, but I still have many views that are not. And considering my background, I’ll have to say my views are a bit more valid than the average voter.

In 2015, I dumped my republican registration and went independent. In good conscience, I did not have views strong enough to keep me, in my mind, labelled as a “R” or on the other side to be a “D”. So I just went, appropriately, to an “I” because my views, as a whole, are mine and mine alone and span between both ideologies and beyond. It is all about “I” (and those I care about). Many, on both sides, said it was foolish because in Kentucky, I now cannot vote in the primaries.

So here I am, a fairly fresh “I”, and now, hesitantly, I want to toss a few of my views into the sea of opinions, mass rhetoric and meme driven social discourse to try to bridge some of the “divides” that have been artificially created between the two predominant ideologies currently on display.

I really think that if people I know from both sides step back and honestly *really* look at things, they’ll be amazed at how far they’ve let themselves actually be led off the path they actually thought they were still on.

So in my mind, the biggest question is, “So where to begin?” – Here goes…

Gary Johnson & Jill Stein

Even though I and many of my disenfranchised friends on both sides support one of these candidates, it just isn’t (at this time) meant to be. The political, media and other establishments are not supportive (yet) of these third parties. I wish they were. I think people would be more likely to vote their true political alignment, instead of the “lesser of two evils”, if they were openly treated like the rest of the mainstream candidates and given equal time.

Multi-party is coming, but this election cycle is not the time and I have to reluctantly urge that you continue to support them financially and ideologically, but do not vote for them. It will, unfortunately, be a wasted one.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary, what a loaded person to really start with… I’m going to cover her career more since she has “more experience” (note the quotes).

I just deleted a few paragraphs that I started to write when I realized that it would take many articles, many “chapters”, many books, to even start to explain things about her… So I decided to break down a few issues and let you, if you care enough, do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

Bill was Governor of Arkansas from 79-81 and 83-92 until he became POTUS. There were innumerable scandals during those days (not only the sexy ones). Many didn’t “see the light” until much later, but they still happened… Here are some keywords from those times and some prior. Do your own research…

Cocaine, drug running, Mena Airport, white water, Watergate (Hillary), unethical, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, persistent adultery, 850k settlement, cattle futures, SEC violations, rape, “Thomas Alfred Taylor”, “Kathy Shelton”, “Larry Nichols”, Epstein, “Lolita Express” and there are so, so many more that have been researched, investigated, and ultimately dismissed and/or covered up by friends, political appointees, people scared of the threats (political and physical), or rendered “inert” due to suicide, accidental death, plane crashes or the media’s irresponsibility to even cover them.

Why do I mention so much “Bill” stuff?

Hillary may not have been directly a part of all of the scandals, but she was involved in a good number of them. If she was aware of all that was going on, she is complicit. If she wasn’t then she was ignorant, it was all around her.

As First Lady of Arkansas she FAILED.

In November 1992, Bill was elected President. He finally reached the pinnacle of political accomplishment. He now held the highest office “in the land”, and Hillary, the highest spousal status… “First Lady”.

She attempted a healthcare overhaul and failed, even though she got a small part of it through (CHIP) and tries to use it as a net positive, she failed to get her healthcare plan passed and it just wasn’t the republicans that didn’t vote for it. Many democrats didn’t either.

A number of Bill’s sex scandals carried over from Arkansas to the White House and with Monica, and arguably others, many more were created. Someone as astute as many make Hillary out to be, she should’ve known (she did) the truth about Bill and his womanizing, sexual harassment and outright rape. I watched some old videos of them together in interviews with her defending him and him saying they loved each other. It was almost like watching episodes of ABC’s Scandal series or House of Cards. (It’s curious how people think fictional TV shows are more plausible than the reality right in front of them). Bill has said publicly in interviews that the marriage is based on love, I challenge someone to find Hillary doing the same. There is no real love there. It is a marriage of convenience. There is no active love between them. Maybe a nostalgic longing for “…what could’ve been”, but they are both in it for themselves (financially, politically and socially, in that order) and they will lie, cheat, steal and defend each other until their last breath on their dying day.

So, in my opinion and many others, as a more politically active First Lady of the U.S., she FAILED.

Then after the White House, the Clinton’s buy a house in New York JUST so she can run for Senate. She’s not even from the state, has no real connection with it (She’s a “redneck” from Arkansas) and uses the influence a senator of NY would gain to try and launch her presidential aspirations in 2008, but another senator (Obama), who had no real experience either, ran against her and was quite a bit more articulate and likable than she was.

The Obama campaign trashed her badly, she trashed them badly (they hated each other), even covertly creating the “birther movement” via Sydney Blumenthal, but it was not enough. Obama won.

She likes to say she “rebuilt” NYC after 9/11… OK… yea… Her main accomplishment was getting a federal building renamed, but “… Hillary’s Senate career is defined by safe, non-controversial bills, most of which were pure fluff and yet she couldn’t get them passed”- National Review

As a Senator and then first time presidential candidate she FAILED.

But, post election, Hillary didn’t give up, her and the Obamas conveniently became “friends” again and she was appointed to the position of Secretary of State by Obama. A pretty important job. Lots and lots of worldwide secrets pass through that office. One of the earlier scandals was the Wikileaks State Department Wire scandal. 100k+ wires leaked embarrassing her and ambassadors worldwide.

She also asked for a “secure” blackberry device, like one typically reserved for the President and associated officials. The NSA denied it due to the cost. So what does she do? Instead of using her state.gov email or coming up with a truly secure and compliant solution, she hires a guy name Brian Pagliano (A State Department Employee) to freelance and setup a “private” email server for her. Not a .GOV email in a secure federal data center, but @clintonemail.com on her own physical server. For those non-technical, a server is just a typically more powerful computer that is inherently designed to run at full capacity 24/7/365. But it is really no different, semantically, from a desktop PC you may be using now, and no more secure, unless made so by the administrator. He ended up getting immunity in the FBI investigation… Why would he need immunity if nothing wrong was done? Hmmm…

Back to Hillary’s setup. She had the servers setup in the closet of one of her basement bathrooms. Numerous hackers admit (and Hillary denies) that they broke into them, while at the same time she admitted the DNC email hacks and other commercial email hacks of associates happened and is the work of high level Russian hackers. But HER system in her basement was “secure”… Mmm hmm… No… Even the FBI director, that refused to recommend her prosecution, says as much.

I’m a technical person, I have setup many email servers, both “private” and hosted on third party providers (Google, Rackspace, etc.) I’ll even admit to having hosted them in the distant past from my home (on a commercial level setup). They were secured by disparate physical firewall devices, against a multitude of vulnerabilities. As I grew in technical ability, I learned professional data center protected and/or specific third party solutions, setup up properly, were much better and way more secure options.

She lied and avoided taking true responsibility for her mishandling of classified emails, avoidance of federal archiving laws, etc. Usually that type of thing, including lying to the FBI, gets you at least 5 years and/or $250,000 fine *per violation*.

Just because you are not prosecuted, does not mean you are innocent.

Again, I’m not going to expound on every issue, but what it comes down to is that Hillary has a knack for admittedly “Making Mistakes…” (private email server), surrounding herself with people who share her gift for drama (Huma/Weiner, Podesta, even Bill himself, among many others)…

As Secretary of State she FAILED

I’m leaving out a LOT of important issues here… I’ll do the same for Trump, although there are not nearly as many to leave out.

Overall, her entire career has been a failure.

Donald J. Trump

I’m not going to get too much into his TV career… It was TV. A lot of it was sensational and what some “stiff” folks would see as sexist, mysoginistic, etc. But I will say that even though MANY pundits and Hillary herself bring up Celebrity Apprentice as a negative for him, I honestly know they never really watched it… It was primarily a vehicle for celebrity contestants to raise money for their respective charities. Some are scrambling to criticize by saying some of the donations didn’t come from Trump directly, but via his foundation using donated monies. Who cares where it came from? He helped a lot of people at the expense, and with the connections, of “the rich” celebrities participating and charitable donations. Is that bad?

His bankruptcies then… Terrible!!

No. They were filed using existing finance laws on the books, bankruptcy isn’t illegal and is oftentimes good business practice. Some types of bankruptcies help a business restructure its debt to keep it in operation and *paying* its employees. Considering the number of companies Trump has been involved in (500+), six, seven even twenty bankruptcies is not bad. I believe the official number is six. 6 of even 500 is only (1.2%). He took many risks, some failed, but many more were successful and he has created many thousands of jobs. No one knows exactly because his company is private, which is wise these days.

Sure he may not have much foreign policy experience, as a government official, which he hasn’t been, but he has been an international business man. He already has much more than Obama had at the same point in his first election cycle. Probably more than many politicians had prior to their elections/appointments. Trump knows better how to deal with people and “get his way” in negotiations. Does Obama? Hillary? Yes? Really?! No…

Even the things that Hillary and Obama have done in private that have become public have been terrible and is bowing to the will of our opponents. Keywords: Iraq, Iran, billions, cash, flight, hostage release, ISIS funding, Libya… Bad instincts, lack of foresight.

I’m not going to get into his recent sexual “grab them by the pussy” statement, because it is so irrelevant and so common in the group vernacular among men (and oppositely in women), that almost every human who has ever existed would be disqualified for the same reason. Admit you’ve said or thought something similar and don’t lie to yourself. This happens to women, and happens to men… Even I, as a male, have been forcibly groped by a drunk female I barely knew and kissed involuntarily. I enjoyed it personally. 🙂 Guess that’s the double standard speaking.

Conclusion

I’m sure many of my more liberal friends will fret at my conclusion, some will defriend (Currently at 594 total), but realize that even though I don’t like Hillary and am not the biggest Trump fan, I’ve made my decision in this election cycle. The U.S. needs balance and that balance cannot be achieved if we have 4 or 8 more years of the status quo + the aftermath (Supreme Court Judges) that will result if Hillary “wins”.

Hillary does not like Russia. If we get her, the tensions will continue. World War 3 is already *much* closer than many realize with the current policies in place. Hillary will become an extension of these policies and likely implement worse ones with her anti-Russian rhetoric in the last debate.

Trump is a loud mouth, blow hard, unconventional candidate, but at least he is anti-establishment and when it comes down to it, that really is the primary positive to casting a vote for him. Establishment = Bad.

So let the defriending, acute disappointment and sympathy for the less enlightened one begin! 🙂 TRUMP 2016.

Disclaimer: If anything happens to me, investigate! 🙂

What he is saying now he was saying a LONG time ago…

PHP 7 so much faster than PHP 5

php7-transparentEarlier this year, I decided to make the leap to PHP 7 prior to it officially becoming a part of my servers distribution (I run Ubuntu).

It has probably been the easiest and best change I have made to my personal server stack in a number of years.

Granted, it wasn’t without a few minor issues. In the custom PHP code I wrote for clients, I got a little lazy over the years and did not open my PHP code blocks with <?php … and still just had php.ini to allow that, but I decided to go through my custom code and add the

Switching to PHP 7 gave a very large advantage… The speed. It is substantially faster than PHP 5. I ran benchmarks on my 1GB linode before and after the switch and PHP 7 literally doubled the speed of code execution.

Here are my basic server specs on most of my servers. There are minor variations.

Linode 1GB VPS
Ubuntu 14.04.5 LTS
MySQL 5.5.50-38.0 Percona Server
Nginx 1.4.6
PHP 7.0.9-1 (FPM)

Along with the PHP 7 switch, moving from the unmaintained Cherokee web server to Nginx as well as adding WP-Supercache to *all* my WordPress sites, the speed increase is VERY notable. Almost like I’m using a CDN when I am not. 

Between my three primary servers, I am running 53, 43 and 37 sites on each. Probably 75% WordPress, 25% Static HTML bootstrap type sites. CPU load times are never greater that 1.0 and usage rarely exceeds 5-10% (Primarily thanks to WP-Supercache).

Goodbye 2014, 2015 is upon us.

For me, 2014 was a year of struggle. Personally, emotionally and financially it started out with high hopes, as every year does, but 2014 ended sort-of, kind-of low for me. But that low is temporary. Due to a number of reasons, things went south early in the year, recovered nicely and ended very much in a state of overall “limbo”, leading towards uncharted waters. I see this unknown expanse as an opportunity for new discovery on all levels.

2014 was a year where I lost myself completely and found myself again, unexpectedly. I had a spring of uncertainty, a summer and early fall of love, leading into a winter of soulful contemplation, but those who are important are still with me. I depend very much on my family and friends, one in particular, to be a part of my life no matter in what capacity or frequency of interaction. All my “peoples” are important to my well-being. If you are one of them, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for gracefully listening, being mostly patient, relatively understanding, and generally being there when I needed you, whether in person or via electronic interaction in the ether. The full list of people is far too vast to list, therefore I will not attempt it.

My Faith, which I do not openly talk about often (not out of “shame”, but because it’s so radically ‘different’ in almost every way), was shaken and stirred a bit, but has been restored in full. A lot of my friends and family are fully devout, some passive observers, some with little faith or downright atheist/agnostic, but they are still my friends and I value their views and insights into life, the world, and everything greatly. Due to the path my life has taken me on, I feel I have probably one of the most diverse, eclectic and generally amazing group of friends imaginable. I am very lucky.

Life is hard, it gets you down, but can also take you to unimaginable heights. I’ve been to both extremes this year. I’m an eternal optimist. I know things will get better. I know they will settle and normalize. I know those who are important will stay in my life and those who are not will fall away. Not because they are better or worse, but because that’s how things in the universe revolve. We all drift in and out of each others existence, sometimes with great effect, sometimes with little, yet we always bump into each others realities for a reason and every single interaction is important to who we are and will ultimately be. Where we will all end up, no one knows, except the Architect of the Universe. I know who that is to me. Who(What)ever it is for you, I’m sure you will agree.

So I guess if there is anything I have really learned this year, it’s the absolute importance of friends, family and Faith. Without them, we are utterly alone in this place. On this “pale blue dot”.

Take a little while, listen and ponder carefully. These messages will resonate to most. Take some time to really realize reality.


NSFW – But we shall rise from the ashes of our pasts.

Stardust from Adrien Servadio on Vimeo.

Long, but much deeper than you may realize. 🙂

Best wishes to ALL of you this coming year. Happy 2015.

Linode Improves… Again!

linodeI know I talk about Linode a lot on my site here, but they are my faithful VPS hosting provider, so I want to support them as much as possible.

Recently, Linode made the jump to SSD drives for VPS and at the same time, doubled the RAM for them. SSD drives are not new for VPS providers, for example, Digital Ocean has used SSDs for over a year and at a lower price point for a basic server ($5/mo for 512mb RAM & 20GB space). Linode has a higher starting price point, but it’s well worth the price considering the robustness of the Linode experience including the control panel, very active support staff and excellent hardware.

I currently have 5 VPS on Linode, but manage another half dozen or so for clients. So when it came to “testing” out the SSD upgrade, I wanted to try it on my own first. It was relatively simple. The only caveat was that a few of my VPS were setup with 32-bit kernels. I had to change them to 64-bit and that was all. I clicked the “Upgrade” button in the Linode control panel and it only took about 10-15 minutes to migrate my VPS to new SSD servers with the 1GB memory upgrade. I then proceeded to update Ubuntu to 14.04 LTS on them all and they are running smoothly. Very painless.

Doing a hdparm drive benchmark, it is notably faster than before.

Before

Timing cached reads: 6854 MB in 1.99 seconds = 3442.87 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 404 MB in 3.02 seconds = 133.82 MB/sec

After

Timing cached reads: 19672 MB in 1.98 seconds = 9931.54 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 2856 MB in 3.00 seconds = 951.48 MB/sec

So, in conclusion, Linode continues to make major improvements to their infrastructure without raising the cost to the end-user. I hope they keep up the good work and they will have my business for years to come.

The new Apple iPhone 5S

compare_iphone5sI finally upgraded my iPhone from the 4S to the 5S. Overall it looks like the 5, but the new features are pretty cool and from hearing about bad battery life from my friends on the 5, it most likely has been increased as well. It is definitely better than my 4S’ battery life.

So far, I’ve mostly played around with the camera. It is substantially better than previous ones and has much better low light capabilities. Video is now 1080, but doesn’t benefit much from the low-light lens. Here is a video I took of my friend’s cat. I slow-motioned it at the point the kitty dives off the counter chasing a laser.

Compared to previous iPhones, it also seems quite a bit more responsive. The new TouchID is awesome, but I found that if you work your hands and get minor cuts or abrasions, the sensor can have a hard time distinguishing your prints on those fingers. Also after washing dishes, it had a hard time probably due to “granny” fingers from the water.

I would recommend this phone as a good upgrade if you’re out of contract or on a 4S or below. 5 users may want to wait for the next iteration if they are happy with their current phone.

Linode “Nextgen” upgrades

Linode has invested over a million dollars into upgrading their network, servers and bandwidth to levels that are unparalleled when it comes to all the features they have already made available to subscribers.

There are three parts to the “Nextgen” upgrade so far.


The Network

“We’re spending $1 million making our network faster. Way faster. Cisco Nexus 7000 routers. Cisco Nexus 5000 switches with Nexus 2000 Fabric Extenders. Linode outbound network cap increased 5x. Outbound monthly transfer quota increased 10x.”

The Hardware

“We’re investing millions to make your Linodes faster. Crazy faster. We’ve begun a refresh of 3/4 of our entire fleet to a new ‘NextGen’ host hardware specification. And we’re upgrading all Linodes to 8 cores! Right now. As in all you need to do is reboot to double the computing power of your Linode.”

RAM Upgrade

“We’re doubling the RAM on all of our plans. This upgrade is available to existing and new customers. New Linodes will automatically be created with the new resources. Existing Linodes will need to go through the Upgrade Queue to receive the upgrades.”


These upgrades represent a MAJOR upgrade. I went from 1.2 TB of outbound to 12 TB. That is quite substantial. The 8 core hardware upgrade is a little harder for most to quantify, but it’s better than the 1-2 “visible” cores I get on DigitalOcean or other “minor” providers. The RAM went from 512 (for me) to 1024. That is very substantial as well when you determine how many sites you can run on a single 512 machine and how many more you can run with double the RAM.

I actually, to Linode’s loss, removed one of my VPS servers and moved sites over to one of the newly upgraded ones. I’m sure, once I outgrow my latest linode, I’ll expand to a new one once more, but for the time being, I love having the additional resources. For my “first” linodes and client ones, it’s great to have the additional resources, especially the “pooled” bandwidth.

Anyone who is looking for a VPS server would be stupid not to get one on Linode with all they have to offer. I manage 9 linodes split between 3 different accounts and the piece of mind that my sites are “safe” is reassuring. I have linode backups on half of them. 30 day S3 and personal rsync backups on the others and do not have to worry about my clients.

Here is my referral link.

Goodbye 2012. Helloooo 2013, you look good!

2013This will be my first (and last) post of 2012. It has been a busy year, so I’ve neglected posting.

2012 was a good and bad year for me. These are both personal and business.

The good.

  • I have been kept busy with various ventures and expect some of them come to fruition in 2013
  • Have built a foundation for personal and business growth
  • Have a LOT of good friends that have referred a lot of business and been there to hang out with
  • Got a cool new office space (see next item)
  • Still freelancing, but I’ve organized a new local (Somerset, KY) collective of amazing freelancers (Hivemind)
  • Visited and met with the main people I work with at my primary and oldest client in New York City (for the first time)
  • Flew in the co-pilot seat of a private jet, a Cessna Citation CJ-3 (vid). (Probably doesn’t happen often)
  • Got back into the “dating scene” after 17 years out of it. (Still looking)
  • The world didn’t end on 12/21/2012 🙂

The bad…

  • My iPad mini “disappeared”, at a family event. 🙁
  • Still a bit “lonely” in life
  • Running out of storage space on my NAS’ (plural)

Can’t really think of too many “bads”. I guess that’s a good thing.

2013 is here!

I am pretty sure this coming year will bring new opportunities for everyone. The world is so crazy these days, sometimes we just have to tune it down and focus on improving our own lives and spending time with those who are important to us. I’m sometimes guilty of beating around the bush and not taking the leap to make things happen in my life, but I’m going to try to change that this coming year.

There are many things out there that can bring us down, both personally and in business, but we can’t let them. Stay positive, realize that even on our darkest days, we are more fortunate than most people in this world.

Have a Happy 2013!

PS – I’ll try to post more often.

How to Balance Work and Family Life

Creating harmony between your career and family life can sometimes be a bit difficult, especially for those of us who are freelancers, in management and/or have a full-time job as well as side-work that can consume your family time.

I’m no expert on the topic, but after having virtually neglected my family life for many years and “losing the love I loved the most”, I feel that I can at least speak on the topic.

Freelancers

This is the way I am currently making my living.  I am 100% freelance and while making enough money to survive,  I hope to continue being more successful in the future so I can support my kids and have some savings when I get older.

For freelancers, the most important aspect of life is being able to delineate your time between work and family.  Stick by it as “religiously” as possible. Things will come up occasionally “after hours”, but make sure your significant other understands that fact and make sure (100%) that he/she is OK with these occasions. Perhaps even have an associate on call who can help if you are completely indisposed.

Since I unfortunately don’t have many day-to-day familial responsibilities as I used to, most of my work is performed in the afternoon and late at night. I usually sleep from 5-6am to 12-1pm.  I get my work done and still have time in the early evening to visit my daughters, family and participate in social activities.

If married, getting your work done during normal business hours is key. Have a dedicated office space to stay “in the zone” or if possible, rent a low cost office outside the home so you can separate your work location from home.

Fulltime + sidework

This was the way I operated for many years before and after I was married and had children.  I worked for many corporations, contractors and agencies and still had a “side job” hosting websites for friends, family and numerous clients.  Before I streamlined my hosting operations, it was consuming MANY evenings, sometimes days of my time when problems arose.

The actual design work wasn’t too time consuming, but the fact that I was on call virtually 24/7 could overshadow a vacation when the phone rang or during a holiday when it was hard to assist clients.  Laptops started going with me on vacation, to visit family and virtually anytime I was away from home.  Sometimes I even had to “clock out” of my day job to serve my personal clients.

This was probably the most stressful period in my life. Work, kids, wife, more work, then finally sleep for 3-6 hours. It took it’s toll on my health and due to bad handling, it also played a part in destroying my relationship.

For this category, I give the same advice as I did for freelancers. Streamline, follow a schedule, make sure there is truly an understanding with your spouse and have some backup if needed.

Managers

I know many people who are in management, from team leads to program managers and VP/CEO’s of companies.  Some of them are able to balance their lives well, but many others are hopelessly attached to their smartphones or work laptops, checking and responding to email at all hours of the night, even from bed, while still being at work before anyone else.  Some are “heroes” to their families, some have had their life crumble before their eyes.

The managers that are usually the worse offenders are  younger ones (25-45) who feel like they HAVE to work unlimited hours for “the company” so they don’t lose favor in the eyes of their superiors.  In extreme emergencies, I agree they should respond, but for normal daily operations, disconnect and enjoy life a little.  There’s always tomorrow and most likely nothing major is going to change from 7pm to 7am.

Conclusion

I’ve made many mistakes in the past, many mentioned above, and am doing my best so they never happen again.  My hosting operations are solid and streamlined.  I rarely have problems with that unless it’s an upstream provider.  I’ll send out one email to the affected parties and just wait for service to return. Design work can be scheduled appropriately.  As long as my clients don’t expect a full website whipped out in 24 hours, I am able to schedule and get them done in a reasonable timeframe.  Prioritize your work based on income, urgency, etc. and you shouldn’t run into many problems.

Full, honest and open 2-way communications is KEY in a relationship. Whether or not you have children, your significant other still needs to know that you are giving him/her adequate time without “pining” to be back on the PC.  Offer as much time as possible outside of work obligations.  Make a plan, understand his/her needs, keep a normal schedule… Don’t be creeping into bed at 2am, disturbing their sleep.  Be sure to make the time you spend quality time. Not just sitting around watching TV.  Make dinner, go for a walk, go to the movies, visit extended family or friends, find a mutual hobby, etc.  Turn off the phone or silence it.  Stay away from computers.

Losing one impatient client is better than losing your family.

Steve Jobs is Dead (1955-2011)

Steve Jobs died on Wednesday October 5th, 2011.  It is a sad day.  His death is no more “significant” than anyone else’s, but the world has truly lost an icon… Someone who has probably changed the world of computing more than anyone else in recent history.

I don’t really know what more to say…

Rest in Peace Steve.

 

Why I like Linode (after using others)

When I started hosting websites for clients, I hosted them in-house, literally, in my house. This was nice because I had direct control over the servers and could quickly fix them or migrate data if there were hardware failures. But obviously, it does not scale very well when it comes to bandwidth, and if you need many servers, the power and cooling requirements can get out of hand.

GoDaddy

At the point when I felt my home setup was “obsolete”, I then took the plunge onto GoDaddy dedicated servers, 2 of them at the time. One was for websites and ran Windows 2003 Server with IIS. The other was a mail server and each had DNS running on them so I didn’t have to depend on/pay for a third-party DNS provider.

GoDaddy dedicated servers ended up being the biggest mistake I ever made.  They ran well for a while, but then a worm of some kind crawled around their internal network and came in through some backend they use to manage the servers.  I had everything well locked down, all Windows sharing turned off, including unneeded admin shares (C$, etc.) and had the firewall pretty tight. It took around 3 days to recover fully from the crash and even though the machines were virtually “destroyed”, I was fortunately able to FTP out all my customer data.

Crystaltech

I moved most of my ASP & .NET sites over to a Windows 2008 Server at CrystalTech. Including email (SmarterMail), which I love, but with the limited space on a Windows VPS, it is quickly filling up with email (people rarely delete things when using IMAP). I still use Crystaltech and they’ve been very stable, but their cost is quite a bit higher than other virtual solutions.

Slicehost

After the GoDaddy crash, all my PHP sites moved to virtual servers running Ubuntu with a standard LAMP stack. Apache got old real quick. It required constant tuning.  I explored many web servers to find one with better performance, at one time, I had three setup for ALL my virtualhosts where all I had to do was stop all the web daemons, change the config of the one I wanted to use to 80 and just start that one, bring up all my sites on a different daemon.  I finally settled on Cherokee and have NEVER looked back.

Slicehost, in my opinion, had HUGE potential at one time (pre-Rackspace buyout).  The support was phenomenal, everyone in the company was open and reachable. I many times talked to the founder via chat and email.  But all of that went down the drain with Rackspace and all Slicehost’s offerings and prices went stagnant.

I recently cancelled Slicehost completely after getting a hard to access domain, whose DNS was hosted with Slicehost, to change their nameservers to Linode’s.

Others

I’ve used a number of other minor providers from time to time that I won’t get too much into here. None of them seemed to be as “turnkey” as places like Linode and Slicehost when it came to the admin backend experience. They were either too complicated or did not even have some of the basics required for “full service” hosting.

Linode

Linode, so far (knock on wood), has been the best company I’ve ever done business with. Rock solid, great support at all hours, fast host servers, lots of datacenter locations, excellent control panel, iPhone app, etc. I can’t say enough to express my happiness with the service.

I currently host a number of VPS servers with them and have brought over a few clients onto their own server(s).  We host everything from test servers to full production and even PBXs. All runs perfectly.

It will be a sad day in VPS hosting land if Linode ever gets bought out by some mega hosting company like Rackspace.

To end this up, decentralization has been the best thing I have done and it is multi-faceted. I separated websites onto multiple, less expensive virtual servers, which prevent ALL my sites from going down when something happens to one of them. I’ve moved most of my clients to Google Apps for Domains, both business and standard, for email.

My uptime has dramatically improved, my customers are happier and that’s what matters.